For Rangers, same old story
Texas once again fails in its attempt to catch the Angels and Athletics while also being painfully reminded of the folly of five-year, free-agent pitcher contracts. (Quiz: Name the last good deal of that length for a pitcher).
The same ownership that signed Chan Ho Park repeats the mistake with Kevin Millwood, a pitcher who worked on one-year deals the last two seasons.
With big money comes responsibility for Millwood, and that didn’t work well for him in Philadelphia.
Thumbs up for WBC
The World Baseball Classic is a success, more so in Latin and South America than in the United States.
The skepticism of American fans is offset by the passion of many of the game’s great players representing their baseball-mad countries.
Remember that this event is being pushed to the players by their union. And as long as many of the top names play, the WBC has tremendous credibility.
The success of the WBC will bring to the forefront international expansion by Major League Baseball.
At a time when the Florida Marlins are actively setting the table for a move by raising ticket prices after dismantling a winning team, MLB has run out of American cities for franchise relocation.
Few take Portland seriously, and Las Vegas, although the leading candidate, still has serious viability questions.
Watch Monterrey, Mexico become a stronger candidate after the initial WBC.
A different sort of walk
Last is the prediction I truly hope does not come true: Labor strife reenters the game in September.
This will be triggered by the players, whose union was publicly trounced in the drug-testing saga, and has watched the percentage of revenues devoted to payroll shrink from 65 percent to 53 percent over the life of the current agreement.
Ownership will have little appetite for a work stoppage, the hardliners of past years softened by an explosion of revenues, particularly from MLB’s internet site.
But the union will want something to hold aloft as a sign of victory, and if ownership doesn’t regard their request as reasonable (what are the odds on that?), then all bets are off come Labor Day.
The omen: Baseball’s big strikes were in 1981 and 1994, 13 years apart. We are now 12 years from the last stoppage. Most of the players who lived through that, some of whom stepped in to prevent a 2002 September walkout, are gone.
ATLANTA (AP) - Matt Harvey pitched six hitless innings, John Buck homered and the New York Mets held off another Atlanta comeback, beating the Braves 4-3 Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader.
Taking a look at some of the greatest catchers off all time.